Buying a house involves a lot of choices, some fun and some intimidating; a good first step is to decide what type of house you’re looking for. Here, we look at the pros and cons associated with different types of houses, to get you thinking about where you do – or don’t – want to start.
Definition: A building which stands completely separate from other buildings.
Pros: Apart from the obvious privacy and lack of disturbance that comes with having no shared walls, detached houses generally have more light (all the walls can have windows!) and are larger. Making improvements to your house will also require far less approval.
Cons: The average cost of a detached house in England in 2017 was on average £140,499 more than that of a semi, so the extra privacy doesn’t come cheap. In London, that figure was around £323,013 more, so if city living is for you, it might pay to tolerate a shared wall or two.
Definition: Half the building is attached to another building by a shared wall.
Pros: As shown above, semi-detached houses cost considerably less than detached houses, and with only one shared wall, offer a compromise between affordability and privacy that makes them the UK’s most popular home. Having one side of the building insulated by another house reduces heating bills too, and you’ll probably have more space than someone living in a terrace.
Cons: Being disturbed by noisy neighbours, or disturbing noise-sensitive neighbours, is a risk and both can feel like an invasion of privacy. Similarly, if you want to make changes such as loft or basement conversions, you’ll likely have to consult ‘them next door’.
Definition: Row of houses positioned side by side
Pros: In 2017, the average price of a terraced house in England and Wales was on average about £30,000 less than that of a semi-detached property, and in London it was around £80,000 less, making them the most affordable type of house. With fewer outside walls than the options above, you should save on energy bills, while still benefitting from a decent garden or yard area.
Cons: Obviously doubling the number of shared walls doubles the risk of being disturbed by the neighbours, and you’re liable to have considerably less space than in a semi.
Definition: The property at the end of a row of houses.
Pros: Cheaper than a semi-detached house, but with the same main benefit; only one shared wall means less risk of inconsiderate neighbours and more privacy.
Cons: More outside walls means the place might take more heating than an average terraced property, and you won’t generally have more space than the others in the row, but will pay more.
Definition: a home covering one floor of a building of two stories or more.
Pros: In London between 2016 – 2017, it was flat-owners who enjoyed the highest growth in the value of their property; high rise living gets you closer to the centre of a city, generally meaning lower commuting costs and a good rate of return. You also avoid being solely responsible for the upkeep of your building.
Cons: You’ll be a leaseholder rather than a freeholder, meaning you don’t own the land underneath your property and will have to pay ground rent to the person who does. Compared to the options above, you’ll also have more noise travelling though the floor and ceiling, are unlikely to have private outdoor space, and parking may be more of an issue.
We like to go the extra mile for you here at House Network. First time buyers priced out of properties in London might find themselves drawn to the idea of living on a boat on price alone, so let’s take a minute to look at the realities.
Pros: Those who are prepared to take the risk can expect increased freedom and reduced living costs from life ‘onboard’, a tight-knit community praising the ‘small village community culture’. There is also increased freedom to move whenever you choose as a massive bonus, as well as no long term issues with neighbours, getting to spend lots of time outside, and in the long term, yes, the cost of living is dramatically lower than with a traditional house.
Cons: Without a lot of preparation and prior research into ‘living aboard’, it can easily lead to frequent, expensive and time-consuming repairs. Dressing smartly can be difficult due to limited storage space, and restrict your earning potential. The motion of the boat can be disturbing. The toilet will be cramped, and smell and adverse weather can lead to leaking roofs or colder winters.
We think it’s fair to say that - as with all the options on this list – it’s best to not rush into anything.
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